California Divorce And Adopted Children

adopted children

When children are involved in a divorce, things become more complicated. Whether the children are adopted or not, it’s an emotional and tricky issue. When a child is adopted, the parents become their legal parents, meaning certain legal rights and responsibilities are created. Adoptive parents have all the same responsibilities for their adopted children as they would biological children once the adoption process is complete. Parents must take care of their adopted child, providing for their education, housing, and medical care. 

It does not matter if you are the child’s biological parents or if you have adopted children. Your legal relationship with your adopted children will not change just because of a separation or divorce. Your divorce will be treated just like any other divorce by the court system, and you can create a child custody schedule that best suits your and your family’s needs. 

Who Gets Custody Of Adopted Children In A Divorce?

Some may think that a biological parent may be given custody over a former step-parent who adopted the child. Still, in California, the law is clear that regardless of the type of adoption, the adoptive parent is considered a legal guardian. There are no legal differences between an adoptive parent and a biological parent. There is a common primary concern that because one parent has the biological link, they may have an advantage in custody arrangements versus the adopted parent. Still, the adoptive parent has the same legal rights as the non-adoptive biological mother or father during the divorce.

It is important to note that every situation is different, and custody is determined on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, the child’s needs are always at the forefront of any decision. Decisions will be made regarding the child’s education, safety, and welfare.

Types of Custody

Both parents have the legal right to seek custody. In the same way the court would treat a biological child when determining custody, the court wants to ensure a stable, safe relationship between both parents after the divorce. Once both parents have created independent households, the time spent with each can be determined. Families can make their child custody agreements, but if this cannot be decided upon, the court can decide as a part of the divorce proceedings and in the child’s best interest.

There are a few different custody possibilities:

Physical vs. Legal Custody

Physical custody is physically having the child under your roof. Legal custody is having the right to make crucial decisions on behalf of the child, like with their medical care, general safety, schooling, or religion. The courts can award both types of custody to one or both parents or divide the types of custody between the two parents.

Joint Custody

They are also known as shared custody; this means the adopted child will spend part of their time with one parent and the rest with the other. The exact time division will depend on the case and will not always be a 50/50 split, as it needs to be practical and in the child’s best interest.

Sole Custody

Sole custody is where 100 percent of the child custody is given to one legal parent. In this case, which is typically uncommon in California courts, the noncustodial parent might have specific visitation rights.

After a custody settlement or court-ordered agreement is determined, both parties must obey the order, though it is possible to request a modification if you have valid reasoning. In the event of significant change, parents can seek out modification of the original order.

Concerned About Your Adopted Child During A Divorce? Let Us Help

Regardless of the biological relationship, when parents have taken on the legal responsibility of their adopted child, child support can be awarded based on state laws. The amount of financial support is decided by a calculator that considers both parents’ incomes and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. This helps determine the amount for the guideline child support.

With divorce being such an emotional and important pivot in life, it can feel scary to go at it alone. It can be challenging to navigate through all the proceedings, and having someone in your corner who can guide you with your and your family’s best interest in mind is important. At Azemika Law, we are here for you with our practice devoted to family law for 28 years. We efficiently handle cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody and visitations, abandonment, and adoptions. We serve all of Kern County and want you to have the opportunity to make informed decisions from the best position possible for your future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Are You Ready to Adopt? 10 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Child

adopting

Adopting a child to create or add to your family is an amazing decision. Something that couples often fail to realize is that there are many different ways that adoption differs from having a biological child. There are important questions you should consider before contacting an adoption agency.

Adoption can be a complex process that continues even after you bring your child home. And there are some unique challenges that adoptive families face. This article will discuss ten essential questions you should ask yourself before adopting a child.

1. Why Are You Choosing Adoption?

This is the most critical question you should consider before moving any further. Is adoption your last choice? Are you more concerned with being a parent or having a child with your DNA? Will you be able to love and connect with a child who isn’t biologically yours?

This is especially important if you are considering adoption after infertility. If you’re considering adoption because you are unable to conceive, make sure you’ve taken the time to grieve that loss before deciding to adopt. “Settling” on adoption as a way to become a parent can negatively impact the adopted child in the future.

2. Can You Provide the Support the Child Needs?

While you may genuinely want to adopt, you need to consider whether or not you can provide for the child, which goes beyond providing for them financially. You will need to be able to take care of them physically and emotionally. Have a serious, honest discussion to determine if you can support this child throughout their life.

3. Are You Willing to Handle the Bumps in the Road You May Face?

Sometimes, adoptions can go smoothly, with no issues. Other times, it can be emotional and time-consuming. Some families wait years for the child they’ve been waiting for. And even when you find that ideal match, it can be expensive and complicated if you’re not fully committed to the process.

4. Can Anything Prohibit You From Adopting?

Some organizations have restrictions on who can adopt. Adoptive parents are required to pass a background check and be healthy. Sometimes, an agency can require specific age gaps between the child and the adoptive family. Requirements differ by agency, so contact several organizations before deciding.

5. Is Anything Holding You Back From Sharing Your Adoption Plans?

Having support through the adoption process is essential. Will your friends and family support the adoption? Will they be supportive of the child once they are part of the family? What about your friends? Will they support you through this process?

6. How Old Would You Like the Child to Be?

Sometimes adoptive parents have a particular age child they would like to adopt, while others don’t. Think about how important the age of the child is. Do you want a baby you can raise? Or would you be willing to adopt a toddler, an older child, or even an adult?

7. Would You Consider Adopting a Child of a Different Ethnicity or Race?

It’s important to consider how important it is that your child looks like you. How would it make you feel for strangers to stare or to constantly be asked if you adopted your child? Is adopting a child from another country an option?

8. Will You Be Comfortable Telling Your Child the Story of Their Adoption?

It can be challenging to explain adoption to a child, especially if you adopt a small child. You should take into consideration how you would not only present the fact that the child was adopted but answer questions about their birth parents. And if you choose to adopt outside of your race, would you be comfortable discussing race with them?

9. Do You Want to Stay In Contact With the Biological Parents?

There are different types of adoption in California. You can choose from an open, closed, or semi-open adoption.

Consider if you want to know things like the medical history and background of the biological parents. Are you interested in communicating throughout the pregnancy or being there when the child is born? Do you want a relationship or contact with the biological parents after the adoption is final?

10. Have You Considered Everyone Who Will Be Part of the Child’s Life?

From friends and family to coworkers and family pets, adoption touches a lot of people in your life. Make sure that everyone is committed to the adoption like you are. This is also important if you already have children. Take the time to discuss the topic of adoption and how they feel about having an adopted sibling.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika, Experienced Kern County Adoption Attorneys 

Adoption changes lives not just for the child but for the adoptive family as well. It’s essential to look at the different aspects of adoption before you commit. If you can answer these questions and decide that adoption is the right choice for your family, there’s no better time than now to begin your adoption journey.

The team at Azemika & Azemika assists clients with step-parent, independent, and adult adoptions. We offer our clients the care and attention that each adoption deserves. We will help you understand your rights and options regarding adoption and parental rights.

Contact us today, and let us help you start parenthood on firm legal ground.

The Different Types of Adoption in California Explained

adoption in california

Adoption is a beautiful and loving act of creating a family for a child who needs it. And it allows biological parents facing an unexpected pregnancy to place their child with adoptive parents looking to build their family.

It’s a process that involves legal and emotional commitments and can be complicated, but the outcome is worth all the effort. In California, a prospective adoptive parent can choose several types of adoption, and each has its unique requirements, processes, and benefits.

This article will discuss the different types of adoption in California and some important factors to consider when choosing the right type of adoption for you.

Step-parent Adoption

Step-parent adoption is a process that enables a step-parent to legally adopt their step-child and become their parent in every sense of the word. The step-parent adoption process in California is relatively simple, especially compared to other types of adoption.

One of the most important things to remember when considering step-parent adoption in California is that the biological parent’s consent is required. That means the biological parent must agree to terminate their parental rights, allowing the step-parent to adopt their child. In addition, in some cases, the biological parent may have already passed away, so the stepparent must provide evidence of this.

Foster Care Adoption

Foster care adoption is a type of adoption where a child is placed in a foster home while waiting for a permanent family. It’s typically done through the state government or a private agency, and the goal is to provide a safe, stable, and loving environment for the child while they wait for their permanent family. The children in foster care come from various backgrounds and can be of any age, race, religion, or culture.

Prospective adoptive parents interested in foster care adoption must undergo a rigorous screening process, including background checks, home studies, and training to become foster parents. The process may take several months, but once completed, the adoptive parents become licensed foster parents and can begin fostering and adopting a child.

In California, foster care adoption is a cost-free process, and the state provides financial support for the child’s care, including medical expenses, clothing, and educational needs. Therefore, foster care adoption is an excellent option for those who are open to adopting children of any age and background and are willing to provide a safe and loving environment.

Domestic Infant Adoption

Domestic infant adoption is a type of adoption where prospective adoptive parents adopt a newborn or young infant who is born within the United States. Domestic infant adoptions are usually done through private adoption agencies or attorneys.

The domestic infant adoption process involves the birth mother choosing the adoptive parents for her baby. Then, the adoptive parents and birth mother work together to create an adoption plan that works best for everyone involved.

Prospective adoptive parents must undergo a rigorous screening process, including background checks, home studies, and training. They must also be prepared to handle the emotional aspects of adoption and be open to communication with the birth mother throughout the process.

Domestic infant adoption is a costlier option compared to foster care adoption. Still, many adoptive parents feel that the benefits of being able to adopt a newborn or young infant are worth the investment. Adoptive parents can also take advantage of the tax credits and other financial benefits available for adopting a special needs child or a child who was part of the California public child welfare agency.

International Adoption

International adoption is a type of adoption where prospective adoptive parents adopt a child from another country. International adoption can be a complex and lengthy process, and prospective adoptive parents must be prepared to meet the requirements of both the country of origin and the United States.

In California, international adoption is usually done through private adoption agencies or attorneys; therefore is typically a costlier option compared to domestic infant adoption or foster care adoption. However, prospective adoptive parents must undergo a rigorous screening process, including background checks, home studies, and training.

Open vs. Closed Adoptions

Depending on how involved the birth parents are will determine if your adoption will be open or closed.

Open Adoption

In an open adoption, the biological parent and adoptive parents share their identities and remain in contact during and after the adoption. Some people mistake an open adoption for co-parenting. This is not the case. As adoptive parents, you can set contact limits with the child’s biological parents.

Closed Adoption

In a closed adoption, both parents have no contact, and their identities aren’t shared. All adoptions in California are Closed Adoptions by default. However, you can still opt for an Open Adoption.

Let Azemika and Azemika Help You on Your Adoption Journey

The adoption process and the laws surrounding it can seem complex and confusing. Seeking the assistance of a family law attorney should be your first step to becoming an adoptive family.

At Azemika and Azemika, we know how exciting becoming a parent can be. We will advise you on all aspects of the adoption process so you can start parenthood in the right direction on firm legal grounds.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.